Darrow Miller and Friends

One Word Could Change Africa

“Why does Africa import $50 billion worth of food that it could grow itself? Jon Vandenheuvel can give you the answer in one word.” So says Mike Metzger.

poverty in AfricaThe call upon my life has been to engage with the world of poverty. A question central to that endeavor has been the reflective inquiry of my life: Why are some nations rich and some poor? I sought a simple answer that would yield profound insights. In my search, I concluded that nations were poor, not because they lacked resources, but because they lacked a biblical worldview. As many of my readers will know, I came to that understanding in my work in an international relief and development organization.

A few years ago, an acquaintance who is now a friend, Dr. Jose Gonzales, told me he had concluded that the continent of his birth, South America, was relatively poorer than North America because it lacked one word – covenant.

Now Michael Metzger of the Clapham Institute introduces us to Jon Vandenheuvel,the CEO of Africa Atlantic Holdings, Ltd. Vandenheuvel believes the poverty in Africa stems from the lack of one word.

For that simple-yet-profound word read $100/Ton Problem.

Metzger writes:

There’s the one word: Infrastructure. Africa doesn’t have it. So it imports $50 billion worth of food annually. The US has infrastructure. That’s why it’s the world’s breadbasket. To date, however, this hasn’t dawned on international relief agencies. They rarely think infrastructure, turning poverty into big business for them.

The missing word? “Infrastructure.”

This reminded me of something I read in The Puritan Gift by Ken Hopper and Will Hopper. They point out that the Puritans brought to these shores the word “management,” one of the concepts that made America America. The Hoppers write that this gift from the Puritans is the “rare ability to create organizations that serve a useful purpose and to manage them well.” The Puritans brought a management culture to the USA that contributed to the development of the nation and, later, to much of Asia.

Management, covenant, infrastructure … these are three of many terms all derived from the biblical worldview. This is why we spend so much time at the Disciple Nations Alliance focusing on worldview. It is the biblical worldview that has given man the way to see the world that comports with reality. And the words and concepts that derive from the Judeo-Christian worldview provide the fount of human flourishing.

Words create a space in the mind that may not have existed before. They open whole new worlds of imagination and lead to the building of entirely new worlds.

  • Darrow Miller

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